Maybe, finally gay people have decided that enough is enough when it comes to having second-class citizenship foisted upon us by krazy kristian kooks. Across the country Saturday were a series of rallies decrying the enactment of three marriage amendments on election day which enshrine discrimination in the Constitutions of Florida, Arizona and California. As angry as we may all be, we should not be surprised at the outcome. There is no leadership within the gay community, and practically no community left anyways. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has become a parody, and while I respect the work done by Equality Florida, they too have been totally ineffective.
Let’s take a look at some of what happened on election day. There are a number of factors that lead to the passage of these amendments. None of it should have come as a surprise, and some of it ain’t pretty.
The Mormon Church
The Mormon Church has become very much a focal point for the anger of the gay community, and they don’t like it. It’s been estimated that nearly $20m in funding for the Yes on 8 campaign in California came from people affiliated with the Mormon Church. It also appears the Church itself, in violation of a number of election laws, may have provided in-kind services such as phone banks and material support. Make no mistake, the LDS Church was a big part of the campaign to pass Proposition 8.
They have previously been active in campaigns to institutionalize the same kind of hate in Hawaii. I find it intriguing that a Church which used to (and to some extent still does) condone Polygamy, used to exclude African-Americans from membership, and were themselves persecuted, have now taken it on themselves to support bigotry and hatred around marriage rites.
“Everyone in the United States has a legal right to protest, which we support fully,” said Waterford Clayton, president of the Newport Beach stake LDS. “This is not about sexual preference. This is about the moral standing of marriage.” (Get it, the Mormons, of all people, are lecturing the rest of us on the “moral standing of marriage.”)
Something went wrong this time though. In an internal church document ([download#1]), the church made it clear they were pleased that the leaders of the Hawaii initiative were not being associated with the Church. This time though, the word of their unprecedented sponsorship did not go unnoticed, and now the LDS has the gall to whine and complain about being called out for it. Sorry guys, but that’s how that messy old thing called Free Speech works. I may not like your message, but I defend your right to say it, but it also means you have to make room for my speech as well, even if you don’t like the content. The Mormon Church has every right to take a stand against Gay Marriage, but Gay people then have a right to take a stand against any institution that supports hatred.
When people are angry, they need a focal point for their anger. There are lots of reasons and people and groups responsible for the outcomes on election day, but the Mormon Church is serving as a good focal point for the anger, and I’m OK with that for now, but at some point we will need to move beyond blame.